George Monbiot, writing for The Guardian, changes his mind about the ethical wrongs of meat eating. The article and book seem to be arguing for low impact, organic, free range farming, which is nothing new and obviously better than the feedlot nightmares.
More interesting is the argument that it is more ethically sound to support those farmers by eating meat than it is to be vegetarian or vegan. I heard a similar position being taken in an introduction being given before watching The End of the Line, about the decline of the world fish population - don’t not eat fish, rather eat fish from sustainable sources to encourage and support their approach.
The meat-producing system Fairlie advocates differs sharply from the one now practised in the rich world: low energy, low waste, just, diverse, small-scale. But if we were to adopt it, we could eat meat, milk and eggs (albeit much less) with a clean conscience. By keeping out of the debate over how livestock should be kept, those of us who have advocated veganism have allowed the champions of cruel, destructive, famine-inducing meat farming to prevail. It’s time we got stuck in.
All of which makes sense, kind of, whilst ignoring the more basic and complex ethical question of killing animals in the first place.